San Francisco (71-60) at Atlanta (75-53)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 37° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Aug 29, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

When Russ Ortiz pitches, the Atlanta Braves are pretty confident they’ll win.

Atlanta will try for its seventh straight victory when Ortiz takes the mound in the third game of a wraparound series with his former team, the San Francisco Giants.

Ortiz has won his last seven decisions and the Braves are 11-1 in his last 12 starts. The right-hander last lost on June 20 to Cleveland, and is 7-0 with a 3.24 ERA since.

However, Ortiz is winless in his last three starts with a 7.14 ERA.

“The guys did a great job of hanging in there and picking me up,” Ortiz said after allowing five runs and five hits over five innings in the Braves’ 6-5 win over Colorado on Tuesday.

Ortiz was one of the Giants’ best pitchers from 1998-2002, going 67-44 with a 4.00 ERA in 154 appearances, including 144 starts.

The Braves have cruised through the second half of the season, losing just one of their last 19 series (15-1-3).

Atlanta is looking to make it three straight wins in this series following Saturday’s 9-3 rout of San Francisco. Rafael Furcal had four hits and four RBIs for the Braves, who have won a season-high six straight and are a season-high 22 games above .500.

Paul Byrd shut down the Giants, allowing four hits and one run in six innings. He also had a career-high two hits and two RBIs at the plate.

“It’s the first multihit game of my career,” he said. “It’s so bad that I would even know that.”

The Braves tagged Giants ace Jason Schmidt for six runs and a season-high 10 hits over only 3 2-3 innings. Schmidt had left his previous start Aug. 17 against Montreal with a strained right groin, an injury that forced him to skip a turn in the rotation.

“I probably should have used my fastball more,” Schmidt said. “I tried to finesse too much. The positive thing is I got through this start. I felt pretty good. I didn’t feel that far off.”

Barry Bonds went 1-for-3 with an infield single, a day after hitting his 694th homer. He originally was scheduled for a day off Saturday, since he often skips day games that follow night games, but told manager Felipe Alou after Friday’s 5-3 loss that he wanted to play.

The Giants are one game behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL wild-card race.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Hennessey Hou vs. R. Ortiz LAD
2-2 Record 15-9
4.98 ERA 4.13
25 K 143
15 BB 112
1.66 WHIP 1.51